There is not much to belabor here. I thought it was a good effort all the way around with some lapses on defense late in the first half which Roy attributes more to a bad shot from Will Graves than he does to way they played defense. In fact Roy summed up the game in a succinct manner as well as what the last four or five games have meant in preparing for ACC play:
I thought we did some nice things. It was frustrating at times, but I think this stretch here has been really good for us. We’ve been exposed to a lot of different kinds of styles that we’re going to face throughout the year, people trying to spread us, which teams will do throughout conference play as well. I think for the most part we did some nice things there. You look down there and see Tyler [Hansbrough] is 7 for 10, Wayne [Ellington is 8 for 11 and Ty [Lawson] is 7 for 11. That’s pretty good, and you like that. For us, Ty had three turnovers at half, and two of them were just careless. In the second half he had zero turnovers. If we have better spacing he can get the ball in front of the rim, and I think that helped us a great deal as well. I’ve been on him the last couple of days in practice and the last game to shoot the outside shot because he really is a good shooter, and he’s been catching the ball and not even thinking about shooting. I told him he doesn’t have to shoot, but at least put his arm underneath it and make them think he’s going to shoot. That makes the guy come up on him even more, and then he can go by him.
I thought we did some nice things. It’s all over with now. They’ll realize we have one more next week non-conference, but now we get into the family stuff. I told them in the locker room I’ve been working my tail off trying to make sure they’re focused the last four or five games because we’ve played pretty solid basketball teams. If they need me to get focused now we’re really in bad shape because it’s time to start the big play.
I find his referring to ACC play as “family stuff” amusing. Basically you had big time performances from Hansbrough, Ellington and Lawson including some good outside shooting from the sophomore point guard. Danny Green did not have a great game and made some mistakes. I pretty much figured he was due for a game like this. Probably better he went ahead and got it out of his system. I think getting Quentin Thomas back will actually be key because I am not convinced Marcus Ginyard can be effective running the point in Lawson’s stead. The offense just seems to struggle and in my opinion he look uncomfortable at the one. Also, Mike Copeland did an outstanding job filling Alex Stepheson’s minutes. While I would like to see Stepheson back because I think he is the more talented player, Copeland is no slouch either which only add to UNC’s interior depth.
So, outside a brief detour to thrash UNC Asheville next week, the real season begins with a trip to Clemson on Sunday. The Tigers are ranked with one loss and playing at Littlejohn ranked #1 is risky business. In fact UNC has a two game road losing streak while ranked #1 going back to a Sunday trip to Clemson in 2001 which they lost. The second came last year in the loss to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
Time to put up or shut up.